311 Squadron – 81st Anniversary

81st Anniversary

311. peruť – 81. výročí

29th July 2021

the 81st Anniversary

of the formation of

311 (Czechoslovak) Squadron

in the Royal Air Force.

_______________________________________________________________

29. července 2021

81. výročí vzniku

311. (československé) perutě

v RAF.

_______________________________________________________________

More information about 311 Sqn in:

RAF Bomber Command here

and in

RAF Coastal Command here.

_______________________________________________________________

Více informací o 311. peruti pod:

RAF Bomber Command zde

i

RAF Coastal Command zde.

_______________________________________________________________

Posted in 311 Sqd, Anniversary, Not Forgotton | Leave a comment

Adolf Jurman – 21.08.21.


Posted in 311 Sqd, Events, Forthcoming Events, Not Forgotton | Leave a comment

Vaclav Cukr – one of the Few






Václav CUKR




One of the Few


…………….* 16.10.1913. Prague.

…………….† 24.10.89. Christchurch, New Zealand.




Pre WW2:

Václav Cukr was born on 16 October 1913 in Prague, the son of Václav, a hotelier, and Marie, neé Otiskové, Cukr, but grew up in Luhačovice, a Spa Town in the Moravia region of Czechoslovakia, some 260 km South-East of Prague where his father owned the Praha hotel. Here he completed four years at primary school and six years of secondary education before leaving school, aged 15, and began training as an electrician.

On reaching 18, he was required to do his compulsory military service, and on 1 October 1932 joined the Czechoslovak Air Force and was sent to their Military Aviation Academy at Prostějov for his basic military training. On completion he was selected for pilot training.

Graduates of the 1932-1934 pilots course Prostejov.

He completed this on 15 June 1934, graduating as an observation pilot and was posted to the 2nd Squadron of the 1st Air Regiment ‘Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk’ of the Czechoslovak Air Force. This was stationed at Prague-Kbely airbase and was were equipped with Letov Š-328 reconnaissance biplanes. On 15 September 1935 he attended a night flying course, retraining for bomber aircraft, and graduating on 30 June 1937. On 1 July 1937 he was posted to the 85th Heavy Bomber Squadron of the 6th Air Regiment based Prague-Kbely with the rank of Cetař (Sgt).

Letov Š-328 biplane reconnaissance aircraft.

The German occupied Czechoslovakia on 15 March 1939 and within a few days the Czechoslovak Air Force and Army were disbanded and all personnel demobilised. By this time he had completed 1496 flying hours.

To Poland:

But just four days later, on 19 March 1939, former senior officers of the now-disbanded Czechoslovak military had started to form an underground army, known as Obrana Národa [Defence of the Nation]. Obrana Národa also worked in co-operation with Svaz Letců, the Airman Association of the Czechoslovak Republic. One of their objectives was to assist as many airmen and soldiers as possible to get to neighbouring Poland where they could be formed into military units to fight for the liberation of their homeland. These two organisations provided money, courier and other assistance to enable airmen to escape to Poland. Usually, this was by crossing the border from the Ostrava region because of the close proximity of the ‘new’ Polish border since Poland had occupied the Český Těšín region of Czechoslovakia on 10 October 1939.

Having been denied the chance to resist the occupying Germans, Václav was one of the many Czechoslovak airmen and soldiers who saw it was their duty to go to Poland from where they could fight to achieve the liberation of Czechoslovakia.

On the night of 13 June 1939, with other former Czechoslovak airmen, they smuggled themselves aboard a coal-train near Kunčice, Ostrava, which took them over the border to Poland. They then reported to the Czechoslovak Consulate in Krakow and were sent to Malý Bronowice, a former Polish Army barracks on the outskirts of Krakow which was now utilised as a temporary transit camp for the escaped Czechoslovak military.

Czechoslovak escapees at Malý Bronowice.

However, the Polish Authorities, who recognised the new puppet State of Slovakia, showed little interest in the Czechoslovak military who were escaping across their border in groups and would not allow independent Czechoslovak units to be established on its territory as they were concerned about antagonising neighbouring Nazi Germany. Only after lengthy negotiations between Czechoslovak Diplomats in France and Great Britain, and the French Government, did the French agree to permit 4,000 Czechoslovaks into the French Foreign Legion – French law did not allow for foreign military units to be on its territory in peacetime, and the Czechoslovak escapers would be required to join the French Foreign Legion for a five-year period with the agreement that, should war be declared, they would be transferred to French military units. The alternative was to be returned to occupied Czechoslovakia and face German retribution for escaping – usually imprisonment or execution with further retribution to their families.

On 25 July 1939, Václav and 189 other Czechoslovak military escapees, were taken by train to the Baltic port of Gydnia, Poland. The following day they boarded the ‘SS Kastelholm’ and sailed to Calais, France. Part of the voyage down the Baltic Sea was very rough, even to airmen who were used to flying in turbulent conditions, and so the ‘SS Kastelholm’ stop at the Danish port of Frederikshaven to re-supply was a welcome relief for the Czechoslovaks onboard. After a five-day voyage, they arrived in Calais on 31 July 1939.

Václav Cukr, with other Czechoslovak airmen, Chartres March 1940.

France:

Initially, Václav and his fellow escapees were transferred to Place Ballard, the Foreign Legion’s recruitment depot at Paris, to undergo medical checks, whilst the necessary documentation was prepared for their enlistment into the Legion pending their transfer to the Legion’s training base at Sidi bel Abbes, Algeria. During this time they attended French classes and any free time was usually spent in Paris exploring the sights and practising their newly learnt French with the girls they met. Before that process could be completed, war was declared and instead Václav and the other Czechoslovak airmen were transferred to the l’Armée de l’Air at their recruitment centre at Dugny, near Paris. On 6 October 1939, at the rank of Corporal, he was transferred to Centre d’Instruction de Chasse for re-training on French Potez XXV and Morane-Saulnier MS.230 elementary trainers and then the Morane-Saulnier MS-406c fighter aircraft at Chartres, the l’Armée de l’Air training airbase.

Morane-Saulnier MS-406c

He was accepted into l’Armee d’Air and on 6 October 1939 assigned to CIC Chartres for re-training on French equipment during which he achieved a further 28.19 flying hours. On 8 March 1940, after completing an air-gunnery course at Montpellier, together with fellow Czechoslovak pilots Jaroslav Gleich and Otto Pavlu, Václav was posted as an operational pilot, with the rank of Caporal Chef, to GC II/3 who were equipped with MS-406c fighter aircraft and stationed at Connantre. By mid-May, they were re-equipped with Dewoitine D-520 fighter aircraft.

D520.

The Germans invaded France on 10 May 1940. During the ensuing Battle of France, Václav flew 45 operational hours, achieving combat success during the heavy fighting with the Luftwaffe:

Date:

Time:

Type Flown:

Action:

20.04.40

11:40

MS-406

1/6 share of a He III H-2
near Maubeuge-Maastrichtnear

22.05.40.

17:10

D-520

½ share of a Hs 126, South of Arras

22.05.40.

17:10

D-520

Ju 87 B, South of Arras

24.05.40.

13:45

D-520

¼ share of a Do 17, 5 km East of Aulnoye-Aymeries

26.05.40.

19:45

D-520

½ share of a Do 17, East of Picquigny

07.06.40.

10:35

D-520

Observation ballon, 10 km North of Poix

07.06.40.

18:45

D-520

½ share of a He 111, 3 km West of Bray

07.06.40

18:55

D-520

Bf 109 E, Harbonniéres

08.06.40.

15:00

D-520

Ju 87 R, Valily-sur-Aisne

The success of his first victory of a 1/6 share of a He III on 20 April was marred somewhat as the combat was over Belgium, which was neutral at that time, and due to engine failure of his MS-406 Václav was forced to make an emergency landing at Rosée, near Florennes, Belgium. The Belgians adhered to strict neutrality at the time, and Václav was sent to a Belgium internment camp, from which he was paradoxically liberated only by the German invasion of Belgium. The Germans began their Western offensive on 10 May 1940, invading Belgium, so that they could go around the French Maginot Line. That day, Václav was released from his internment and sent back to his unit in France. He achieved two more combat victories on 22 May 1940, but a due to his D-520 running out of fuel, had to make a forced landing near Betz-Bouillancy, just 50 km from Paris, where GC II/3 where now deployed. Here he was almost shot by nearby demoralised French soldiers who had mistaken the identity of his aircraft.

Two days later, Václav was shot down after combat success with a Dornier Do 17 bomber, but his D-520 was badly damaged by a Me110, forcing him to make another forced landing near Aulnoye-Aymeries in Northern France. He was unharmed and returned to his unit the following morning.

His final combat success in the Battle of France was on 8 June 1940 when with fellow Czechoslovak GC II/3 pilot, Stanislav Peroutka, he attacked a formation of five Ju 87 dive bombers from I./StG 2. In the ensuing combat he shot down one of the Ju 87, but accurate gunfire from another hit the engine of his D-520, and one of the bullets pierced his front windscreen, creasing his temple. Blood from the wound nearly blinded him, forcing him to make a forced landing at Cramaille, about 90km East of Paris. The area had already been over-run by advancing forward units of the German Wermacht but he managed to evade capture and cross back into French-held territory where he collapsed unconscious. He was found by French soldiers who took him to the hospital at Chateau-Thierry. After treatment for his wounds he quickly left to avoid capture by the advancing Germans.

During the Battle of France, Václav had flown 45 operational hours, and was credited with the destruction of eight Luftwaffe aircraft and one Observation balloon making him the 3rd most successful Czechoslovak pilot of that battle.

With the French capitulation imminent, Václav and other Czechoslovak airmen were released from their l’Armee d’Air service and they made their way to Port Vendres from where, on 24 June 1940 they boarded the ‘General Chanzy’ and sailed to Oran, Algeria. From there, they went by train to Casablanca, Morocco, and after a five-day wait were able to board the ship‘ Gib-el-Ders’ which took them to Gibraltar. Here they transferred to the ‘Neuralia’ which sailed in a convoy to England, arriving at Liverpool on 12 July 1940.

RAF:

On 6 August 1940, Václav was accepted into the RAF Volunteer Reserve, at the rank of AC2. The following day he was posted, with other Czechoslovak pilots, to the newly formed 310 (Czechoslovak) Sqn at Duxford which was equipped with Hurricane Mk I fighter aircraft. Here he was promoted to the rank of Sgt and with his fellow Czechoslovak pilots was re-trained on Hurricane aircraft and taught rudimentary English, being tutored by Louis de Glehn for three lessons per week. By 17 August, 16 of the pilots had completed their re-training, enabling ‘A’ and ‘B’ Flights to be assembled and the squadron was declared operational.

However, by this date Václav and 18 other pilots had not yet reached the required standard, and with all of the squadron’s Hurricanes needed to participate in the Battle of Britain, there were no spare aircraft for further retraining to continue. Instead these reserve pilots were posted to 6 OTU at Sutton Bridge for their retraining to continue. Václav completed this on 10 September and was posted to 43 Sqn at Unsworth where he was assigned to the squadron’s ‘A’ Flight. 43 Sqn had a training role and he was with them for only for 18 days during which he flew six practice flights until 28 September, totalling 4.25 hours.

On 28 September he was posted to 253 Sqn who were stationed at Kenley and equipped with Hurricane MkI aircraft. The following day, flying Hurricane N2455, he made his first operational flight in the Battle of Britain in a 45 min patrol in the Sevenoaks area at 15,000 feet to intercept a formation of about 70 Me110s and some Me109s. Václav, flying as Yellow 2, engaged in three separate attacks during the resultant dogfight. However, during the Battle of Britain he was unable to continue the combat success he had attained in France.

With 253 Sqn he made 32 operational flights, totaling 29.58 hours, the last one being an interception patrol on 6 March 1941. Unfortunately, the head injury he had received in France started to trouble him and affect his flying. Following medical tests he had to cease operational flying and on 12 March 1941 was posted, at the rank of F/Sgt, to 52 OTU at Debden where he was to remain for the next two years as a flying instructor. Whilst there, Václav received his commission, with the rank of P/O on 14 August 1941. Further promotions followed; F/O on 1 January 1943 and to F/Lt on 14 August that year.

At 6 OTU, Sutton Bridge 4.9.1940.

He was posted, on 15 January 1943, to 20 MU [Maintenance Unit] at Aston Down as a test pilot for the SOA Technical Unit. Here he also commanded a small Flight which converted multi-engined trained pilots to fly single-engined fighters.

On 4 July 1943 he took-off from Aston Down for a test flight in a North American Mustang Mk I AG489. At about 11:30, he was in aerial collision over Nether Lyppiat, two miles North of Brimscombe, Gloucestershire, with Spitfire Mk II P7918, flown by a pilot trainee from 52 OTU. Václav managed to bail out but was at low altitude – about 80 to 100 mtrs – and the parachute was unable to fully deploy. He landed on a tree-top which helped to cushion the fall but was seriously injured with both legs and pelvis broken, and with fractured ribs and lacerations. The Mustang had crashed just 15 mtrs from that tree. He was immediately taken to hospital at RAF Wraughton where the Doctors gave him little chance of survival.

On discharge from RAF Hospital Wraughton.

He recovered from this ordeal but was to spend the remainder of the war at the RAF Rehabilitation unit at Loughborough.

At RAF Rehabilitation Unit, Loughborough.

Post WW2:

He returned to Czechoslovakia on 13 August 1945. Initially he remained in the Czechoslovak Air Force with the rank of nadporučík, but because of his injuries he was invalided out of the Service at the rank of štábní kapitán [S/Ldr]. In October that year he was elected Vice-Chairman of Svazu Letců, the Airmens Association of Czechoslovakia.

VC, still with walking sticks, Ruzyne, August 1945.

2nd Exile:

Following the Communist take-over of Czechoslovakia in February 1948, he was aware that he was going to be arrested because of his RAF service. Despite his invalidity, with the assistance of Jaroslav Doležal, Miroslav Mansfeld, Stanislav Peroutka, Karel Pošta and Václav Raba, all former RAF colleagues, he escaped on foot over the border into the American Zone of Germany in May that year.

In spite of having to go into exile for a 2nd time, the patriotism in Václav for a free Czechoslovakia – this time from Communism – was still in the forefront for him. In Germany, he joined the Czechoslovak Intelligence Office [CIO], a Czechoslovakia exile intelligence service, run since December 1948 by Generals Sergěj Ingr and František Moravec, both of the former Czechoslovak Government in Exile in London during WW2. At that time CIO was the most effective espionage organisation working against the Communists in Czechoslovakia in Europe, better than the British, the Americans or anyone else and was financed by MI6.

Václav became a naturalised British subject in December 1949 and within CIO, under the codename ‘Measure’, Václav first managed their operation in Zurich, Switzerland, and from 1955 in Hamburg, Germany. In undertaking his intelligence work, he worked in cooperation with the British Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6.

His fellow RAF escapers to the American Zone of Germany, May, 1948.

Due to a changes in the Cold War situation and the infiltration of a Communist StB mole, the Czechoslovak double agent Karel Zbytek codename ‘Light’, CIO was disbanded in 1957. Václav returned to England, changed his name to Viktor Eric Cooper and emigrated to New Zealand.

He died in Christchurch, New Zealand on 24 October 1989, aged 76. Just a few weeks later the Velvet Revolution took place in Czechoslovakia heralding the end of its Communist regime.

Medals:

For his wartime service, in three Air Forces, he was awarded the following medals:

British:

1939–1945 Star with Battle of Britain Clasp

Air Crew Europe Star

Defence Medal

War Medal

Czechoslovakia :

Valečný kříž and bar

Za chrabrost před nepřítelem


Za zásluhy I. st.

vojenská pamětní medaile se štítky F a VB

France:

Légion d‘Honneur au grade de Chevalier

Médaille Militaire,

Croix de Guerre avec 5 palmes et 3 etoiles de vermeil

Remembered:

England:

He is commemorated, along with the other 2938 Battle of Britain aircrew, on the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall at the National Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, Kent:


He is also commemorated on the London Battle of Britain Memorial:


Czech Republic:

In November 2017, his name, along with the names of 2512 other Czechoslovak men and women who had served in the RAF during WW2, was unveiled at the Winged Lion Monument at Klárov, Prague.


Posted in Battle of Britain, Biography, Into exile, Not Forgotton, Other RAF Squadrons | Leave a comment

Nieuwe Niedorp – Wellington T2990 Excavation


Posted in 311 Sqd, Not Forgotton | 1 Comment

81st Anniversary – Remembering the 88 Czechoslovaks

81. výročí – Vzpomínka na 88 československých pilotů


The Battle of Britain took place between 10 July and 31 October 1940 with some 2,938 Allied airmen flying in that conflict.

Bitva se odehrála v období mezi 10.červencem a 31. říjnem 1940. Dosud známe jména 2 938 letců, kteří se tohoto konfliktu zúčastnili.

Of these 88 were Czechoslovak, who flew mainly in 310 (Czechoslovak) and 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadrons as well as some British RAF Squadrons. Eight of whom lost their lives in that battle.

Osmdesát osm z nich byli Čechoslováci sloužící především u 310. a 312. perutě. Další naši letci pak působili u některých britských a jedné polské perutě RAF. Osm z nich zaplatilo tuto bitvu životem

The names of those 2,938 are on display and the London Battle of Britain Monument, in panels according to their nationality.

jména všech 2.938 leců najdeme rozdělená podle národností na panelech umístěných na London Battle of Britain Monument.

and also on The Foxley-Norris Wall at the National Battle of Britain Memorial, at Capel-le-Ferne, Kent, in alphabetical order.

a také na The Foxley-Norris Wall v Národním památníku bitvy o Británii v kentském Capel-le-Ferne, zde jsou uvedena v abecedním pořádku.

The 88 Czechoslovaks are:

Těmi 88 Čechoslováky jsou:

 

AMBRUŠ, Ján P/O
310 Sqn

 

BARTOŠ, Jindřich P/O
C de G
312 Sqn

 

BERGMAN, Václav P/O
C de G
310 Sqn

 

BERNARD, František Sgt
C de G
238, 60 Sqns

 

BREJCHA, Václav Sgt
43 Sqn

 

BURDA, František P/O
C de G
310 Sqn

 

CHÁBERA, František Sgt
C de G
312 Sqn

 

ČÍŽEK, Evžen P/O
C de G
1 Sqn

 

CUKR, Václav Sgt
C de G
253 Sqn

 

DOLEŽAL, František P/O
C de G
1 Sqn

 

DUDA, Josef F/Lt
C de G
312 Sqn

 

DVOŘÁK, Alois Sgt
310 Sqn

 

DYGRÝN, Josef Sgt
85, 1 Sqns

 

FAJTL, František P/O
C de G
1, 17 Sqns

 

FECHTNER Emil P/O
DFC
310 Sqn
† 29/10/40

 

FEJFAR, Stanislav P/O
C de G
310 Sqn

 

FOGLAR, Václav Sgt
245 Sqn

 

FOIT, Emil P/O
85, 310 Sqns

 

FRANTIŠEK, Josef Sgt
DFM and bar, C de G
303 Sqn
† 08/10/40

 

FÜRST, Bohuslav Sgt
310, 605 Sqns

 

GÖTH, Vilém, P/O
510, 310 Sqn
† 25/10/40

 

HANUŠ, Josef Jan P/O
C de G
310 Sqn

 

HANZLÍČEK, Otto Sgt
C de G
312 Sqn
† 10/10/40

 

HESS, Alexander S/Ldr
DFC, C de G
310 Sqn

 

HIMR, Jaroslav P/O
56, 310 Sqns

 

HLAVÁČ, Jaroslav Sgt
C de G
310, 56 Sqns
† 10/10/40

 

HLOBIL, Alois P/O
C de G
312, 238 Sqns

 

HORSKÝ, Vladimír Sgt
310, 238 Sqns
† 26/09/40

 

HRADIL, František P/O
310, 19 Sqns

 

HRUBÝ, Otakar Sgt
C de G
111 Sqn

 

HUBÁČEK, Josef Sgt
C de G
310 Sqn

 

HÝBLER, Josef P/O
310 Sqn

 

JANOUCH, Svatopluk P/O
C de G
310 Sqn

 

JAŠKE, Josef P/O
C de G
312 Sqn

 

JÍCHA, Václav Sgt
C de G
310, 1 Sqns

 

JIROUDEK, Miroslav F/Sgt
C de G
310 Sqn

 

KAŇA [Kania], Jozef F/Sgt
303 Sqn

 

KAUCKÝ, Jan Sgt
310 Sqn

 

KEPRT, Josef Sgt
C de G
312 Sqn

 

KESTLER, Oldřich Sgt
111 Sqn

 

KOMÍNEK, Josef Sgt
310 Sqn

 

KOPECKÝ, Miroslav Sgt
C de G
310, 111 Sqns

 

KOPŘIVA, Josef Sgt
310 Sqn

 

KÖRBER, Karel Sgt
32 Sqn

 

KORDULA, František P/O
310, 1, 17 Sqns

 

KOUKAL, Josef Sgt
310 Sqn

 

KRÁTKORUKÝ, Bedřich Sgt
1 Sqn

 

KREDBA, Miroslav P/O
310 Sqn

 

KUČERA, Jaroslav Sgt
245 Sqn

 

KUČERA, Jiří V. Sgt
C de G
310, 238 Sqns

 

KUČERA, Otmar Sgt
111 Sqn

 

KUTTELWASCHER, Karel Sgt
C de G
1 Sqn

 

MACHÁČEK, Jiří P/O
310, 145 Sqns

 

MALÝ, Jaroslav F/Lt
310 Sqn

 

MANSFELD, Miloslav Sgt
111 Sqn

 

MAREK, František Sgt
C de G
310, 19 Sqns
† 14/09/40

 

MRÁZEK, Karel P/O
310, 43, 46 Sqns

 

PAVLŮ, Otto Sgt
1 Sqn

 

PÍPA, Josef Sgt
43 Sqn

 

PLZÁK, Stanislav Sgt
C de G
310, 19 Sqns

 

PRCHAL, Eduard Sgt
C de G
310 Sqn

 

PŘÍHODA, Josef Sgt
1 Sqn

 

PTÁČEK, Rudolf Sgt
43 Sqn

 

PŮDA, Raimund Sgt
310, 605 Sqns

 

ŘECHKA, Josef Sgt
C de G
310 Sqn

 

ROHÁČEK, Rudolf P/O
310, 601, 238 Sqns

 

RYPL, František P/O
310 Sqn

 

ŠEDA, Karel Sgt
C de G
310 Sqn

 

ŠIKA, Jaroslav Sgt
C de G
43 Sqn

 

ŠLOUF, Václav Sgt
C de G
312 Sqn

 

ŠTEFAN, Jan Sgt
1 Sqn

 

STEHLÍK, Josef Sgt
C de G
312 Sqn

 

ŠTĚRBÁČEK, Jaroslav P/O
310 Sqn
† 31/08/40

 

STŘIHAVKA, Jaromír Sgt
85, 310 Sqns

 

TRUHLÁŘ, Jan Sgt
C de G
312 Sqn

 

VAŠÁTKO, Alois F/O
C de G
312 Sqn

 

VELEBNOVSKÝ, Antonín P/O
85, 1 Sqns

 

VESELÝ, Vlastimil P/O
C de G
312 Sqn

 

VINDIŠ, František Sgt
310 Sqn

 

VOPÁLECKÝ, Josef Sgt
C de G
310 Sqn

 

VRÁNA, Adolf P/O
C de G
312 Sqn

 

VYBÍRAL, Tomáš P/O
C de G
312 Sqn

 

VYKOUKAL, Karel P/O
C de G
310, 111, 73 Sqns

 

WEBER, František P/O
310, 145 Sqns

 

ZAORAL, Vladimír P/O
310, 501 Sqns

 

ZAVORAL, Antonín Sgt
310, 151, 1 Sqns

 

ZIMA, Rudolf P/O
310 Sqn

 

ZIMPRICH, Stanislav P/O
310 Sqn

Posted in 310 Sqd, 312 Sqd, Battle of Britain, Not Forgotton | Leave a comment

Czeching out Tangmere – part II


Češi v Tangmere – část II

After the visit to Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, Brigadier General Vratislav Beran, Colonel Jiří Niedoba from the Defence Office, at the Czech Embassy London, and volunteers from the Free Czechoslovak Air Force Associates ltd [FACFA] went to the nearby Portfield cemetery, Chichester, to pay their respects to the seven WW2 Czechoslovak airmen are buried there.

Po návštěvě Vojenského leteckého muzea v Tangmeru se brigádní generál Vratislav Beran, voj. přidělenec plk Jiří Niedoba a dobrovolníci z Free Czechoslovak Air Force Associates ltd [FCAFA] vydali na nedaleký hřbitov v Portfieldu v Chichesteru, aby tam vzdali úctu sedmi československým letcům z 2. svět. války.

Royal British Legion crosses were placed by each of the seven graves by Brigadier General Beran, and Colonel Niedoba on behalf of the Czech Republic while FCACFA volunteers placed their bouquets.

Na každý ze sedmi hrobů umístil brigádní generál Beran a plukovník Niedoba Kříže Královské britské legie, zatímco dobrovolníci FCAFA zde položili kytice.

Roman Catholic CWGC Section :

Římskokatolický kostel, sekce CWGC:

_______________________________________________________________

VLK Jan, 29, F/Sgt, 1 Sqn, Pilot.


*

14/02/13, Lhota u Semily.

10/04/42, Tangmere, West Sussex.

Cause:

Killed in aircrash when making a emergency landing whilst training in Hurricane Z3970.

Zahynul při nouzovém přistání během výcviku s letounem Hurricane Z3970.

Grave:

37, Square 42. Roman Catholic Plot.

_______________________________________________________________

VELEBNOVSKÝ Antonín, 26, F/Lt, 1 Sqn, Pilot.


*

15/04/15, Jablunkov, Frýdek-Místek.

16/07/41, Tangmere, West Sussex.

Cause:

Killed in Hurricane Mk IIc Z3902, crashed near Tangmere, when returning following a night training flight.

Zahynul při návratu z nočního cvičného letu poblíž Tangmeru, v letounu Hurricane Mk IIc Z3902.

Grave:

50, Square 42. Roman Catholic Plot.

_______________________________________________________________

Church of England, CWGC Section :

Anglikánský kostel, sekce CWGC:

_______________________________________________________________

LYSICKÝ Vojtěch, 28, P/O, 310 Sqn, Pilot

*

08/09/15, Olomouc.

26/04/44, Chichester, West Sussex.

Cause:

Flying Spitfire MK150 which was damaged by the detonation of one of its own bomb, during a ground attack training sortie and crashed at Appledram.

Zahynul při letu na Spitfire MK150, který byl poškozen výbuchem jedné ze svých vlastních bomb, při nácviku pozemního útoku a havaroval u Appledramu.

Grave:

3, Square 159, Church of England Plot.

_______________________________________________________________

FANTA František, 24, F/Sgt, 310 Sqn, Pilot.


*

11/12/19, Kamení, Liberec.

26/04/44, Chichester, West Sussex.

Cause:

Killed in mid air collision with F/Lt Jan LAŠKA while flying Spitfire MK344 on a training flight.

Zahynul při vzdušné kolizi s kpt Janem Laškou na letounu Spitfire MK344 při cvičném letu.

Grave:

4, Square 159, Church of England Plot.

_______________________________________________________________

MORAVEC Miroslav, 25, F/Sgt, 313 Sqn, Pilot


*

03/09/18, Prague.

07/06/44, Chichester, West Sussex.

Cause:

Killed in mid air collision with F/Sgt František FANTA while flying Spitfire MJ979 on a training flight.

Zahynul při vzdušné kolizi s rotným Františkem Fantou na letounu Spitfire MJ979 při cvičném letu.

Grave:

5, Square 159, Church of England Plot.

_______________________________________________________________

NOSEK Vilém, 28, F/Sgt, 312 Sqn, Pilot


*

22/11/14, Německý Brod.

26/04/44, Chichester, West Sussex.

Cause:

Flying Spitfire MK150 which crashed at start of operational flight 0.5km from Appledram airfield.

Zahynul krátce po startu k operačnímu letu, kdy havaroval se svým letounem Spitfire MK150 500 metrů od letiště Appledram.

Grave:

29, Square 159, Church of England Plot.

_______________________________________________________________

LAŠKA Jan, 29, F/Lt, 313 Sqn, Pilot


*

30/01/16, Líně, Plzeň.

11/06/44, Chichester, West Sussex.

Cause:

Killed when his Spitfire MJ840 flew into high ground in cloud whilst returning to base from a sortie over France.

Zahynul, když jeho Spitfire MJ840 narazil v mracích do úbočí kopce při návratu na základnu z operačního letu nad Francií.

Grave:

30, Square 159, Church of England Plot.

_______________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________

Bouquets laid by FCAFA volunteers at each of the seven Czechoslovak graves.

Ke každému z těchto sedmi hrobů položili dobrovolníci FCAFA kytice.


_______________________________________________________________


Very surprised and disappointed to see that CWGC had a spelling issue with Czech on their Cross of Sacrifice at this cemetery.

Bohužel, návštěva z Čech byla nemile překvapena a zklamána, když viděla, že na památníku CWGC je zkomolený název jejich národnosti.

Posted in 310 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, Cemetries, Not Forgotton | 1 Comment

The men of Wellington T2990

Wellington KX-T, T2990.

KX-T Operation too far

Vickers Wellington bomber KX-T 2990 from 311 (Czechoslovak) Bomber Squadron took off for her last operation at 2316hrs on 22 June 1941. The target was the German port of Bremen with the following crew: Captain/1st pilot F/Sgt Vilém Bufka, 2nd pilot F/Sgt Alois Rozum, Navigator P/O Vilém Konštatcký, Wireless Operator P/O Leonhard Smrček, Front gunner F/Sgt Jan Hejna and Rear gunner F/Sgt Karel Valach. After reaching the target and dropping their bombs, they turned back for England. As it was customary, the 2nd pilot took the controls as they cleared Amsterdam. Just west of it they came under attack by the enemy night fighter Me 110 of Oberleutenant Prince Egmont zur Lippe-Weisenfeld from the II/NJG 1 at Bergen. The Wellington was badly damaged and caught fire. This is how Vilem Bufka, the only survivor, described the situation (abbreviated from his interview given in London on 22 April 1945):

“The attacker fired several long rounds. The aircraft was hit and caught fire. From the struggle of the 2nd pilot it was obvious to me, that he could no longer control the plane which started descending fast. I gave the order to abandon the stricken aircraft via the Intercom but received no acknowledgement. I decided to check on the W/O and the navigator but could not reach them for the raging flames and heat. I returned to the cockpit where the 2nd pilot was struggling to get out of the plane which was falling in a spiral. I also noticed the open hatch into the front turret but could not see Hejna anywhere. I realised that I had to get out fast. The 2nd pilot was half-way out of the plane at that time. I put on a parachute but could not exit the aircraft because of the draught. I opened the chute inside and threw it out of the hole. The last thing I remember was a knock on my head. I woke up in hospital two days later. I had a broken leg and several cuts on my head and torso.”

The aircraft came down at 0213hrs at Nieuwe Niedorp village north east of Alkmaar. Vilem Bufka was taken prisoner of war. The bodies of the five airmen were not found.

_______________________________________________________________

Vilem BUFKA

Pilot/Captain

Flight Sergeant, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

RAF Service no: 787572

Vilem Bufka was born on 11 August 1915 in the town of Nymburk in the central Bohemian region.

He was a qualified car mechanic. He did his national service between 1935 – 37 with the Air Force, during which he gained his basic pilot qualification. He continued to serve and during 1938– 39 and gained full qualification including night flying and instrument rating. After the occupation he left the Air Force on 1 June 1939.

He escaped from the Protectorate on 1 July 1939 via Poland where he signed for 5 years with the French Foreign Legion. He left for France aboard the ship Chrobry and he presented for active service at the Czechoslovak Consulate in Paris on 2 October 1940. He was one of the few bomber pilots who fought in France after his retraining. He served with Bombardement GB I/23 on MB-210. After the fall of France he fled to England via Africa flying a small tranport aircraft Caudron C635 Simoun. He landed with an almost empty fuel tank on a beach near Maison Blanche (currently Dal El Beida) in Algeria. He joined the RAF on 26 July 1940 and was assigned to 311 Czechoslovak Bomber Squadron. He flew his first operation on 16 December 1940 as second pilot. He became first pilot/captain on his fifth operation on 2 January 1941.

Vilem Bufka managed to jump from the burning plane at the last moment. He suffered a broken leg and numerous lacerations, was taken prisoner of war by the Germans and eventuelly imprisoned in Colditz.

He returned to England after liberation and finally to his homeland on 16 August 1945. He was reactivated and continued to serve in the Czechoslovak Air Force until his dismissal on 1 November 1949. He reached the rank of Captain. Sadly he suffered from ill health and died on 20 November 1967. He wrote a book about his war exploits titled Bombarder T2990 se odmlcel (Bomber T2990 gone silent).

He was promoted to the rank of Colonel in memoriam during the rehabiliation of all Czechoslovak RAFs in 1989.

Decorations:

Czechoslovak:

Válečný kříž 1939 [War Cross 1939] x2

Za chrabrost před nepřítelem
 [For gallantry against the enemy] x2

Za zásluhy [Medal of Merit] Grade I

Military Commemorative Medal with F (France) and VB (Great Britain) clasps

British:

1939 – 1945 Star

Air Crew Europe Star

Defence Medal

War Medal

France:

Croix de Guerre 1939-1945

_______________________________________________________________

Alois ROZUM

2nd Pilot

Flight Sergeant, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

RAF Service no: 787169

Was born on 6 July 1912 in the town of Plzen, western Bohemia. He did his initial national service between 1931 -1933, after which he stayed in the Air Force and became a fully qualified pilot, including night vision and various instrument ratings. He flew over 1000 hours on several different types of aircraft and served until the spring 1939. He escaped from the Protectorate in June 1939 via Poland and by ship to France. He presented for duty at the Czechoslovak consulate in Paris and joined the Foreign Legion on 28 August 1939. He trained in Pau, Chateauroux and Tarbes airbases, again on several different types of aircraft. After the fall of France he left for England and docked in Liverpool on 7 July 1940.

Flight Sergeant Alois Rozum was killed on the 23 June 1941 when his plane crashed in Nieuwe Niedorp, The Netherlands. He is commemorated at the Runnymede Memorial: Panel 37.

He was promoted to the rank of Colonel in memoriam during the rehabiliation of all Czechoslovak RAFs in 1989.

Decorations:

Czechoslovak:

Válečný kříž 1939 [War Cross 1939]

Za chrabrost před nepřítelem
 [For gallantry against the enemy]

Pamětní medaile československé armády v zahraničí [Memorial Medal of Czechoslovak Foreign Army abroad], with F (France) and VB (Great Britain) clasps

_______________________________________________________________

Vilém KONŠTATCKÝ

Navigator

Pilot Officer, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

RAF Service no: 82608

Was born on 17 November 1914 in Čelechovice, in the Moravian region of Prostějov. He trained to become a bank clerk. He did his national service between 1935-37, during which he attended the infantry officer course with very good results. During his national service he also completed an observer course at the Air Force training school. He continued to serve and became a qualified air force observer (navigator) on 1 December 1938. Deactivated on 1 February 1939.

Escaped from the Protectorate on 22 January 1940 via Hungary & former Yugoslavia, where he presented for duty at the Czechoslovak legation in Belgrade on 13 April 1940. He reached France on 11 May and joined active service on 13 May 1940 at Agde. He finally arrived in Liverpool on 7 July 1940. He completed a night navigator’s course with excellent results. He flew 31 operations.

Pilot Officer Vilém Konštatský was killed on the 23 June 1941 when his plane crashed in Nieuwe Niedorp, The Netherlands. He is commemorated at the Runnymede Memorial: Panel 33.

He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in memoriam during the rehabiliation of all Czechoslovak RAFs in 1989.

Decorations:

Czechoslovak:

Válečný kříž 1939 [War Cross 1939]

Za chrabrost před nepřítelem
 [For gallantry against the enemy]

Pamětní medaile československé armády v zahraničí [ Memorial Medal of Czechoslovak Foreign Army abroad], with F (France) and VB (Great Britain) clasps

_______________________________________________________________

Leonhard SMRČEK

Wireless operator

Pilot Officer, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

RAF Service no: 82639

Was born on 29 December 1915 in Bezdišov near Třebíč in southern Bohemia. He did his national service between 1936 – 37, during which he attended officer training, followed by furthe training at the Military Academy at Hranice between 1937-38. He qualified as an observer (navigator). He escaped from the Protectorate on 9 December 1939 via Hungary and former Yugoslavia, and finally presented for duty at the Czechoslovak consulate in Marseille on 9 February 1940. After the fall of France he continued on to England where he arrived by ship at Liverpool on 7 July 1940. He attended the wireless operator course during which he showed a particular aptitude.

Pilot Officer Leonhard Smrček was killed on the 23 June 1941 when his plane crashed in Nieuwe Niedorp, The Netherlands. He is commemorated at the Runnymede Memorial: Panel 34.

He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in memoriam during the rehabiliation of all Czechoslovak RAFs in 1989.

Decorations:

Czechoslovak:

Válečný kříž 1939 [War Cross 1939]

Za chrabrost před nepřítelem
 [For gallantry against the enemy]

Pamětní medaile československé armády v zahraničí / Memorial Medal of Czechoslovak Foreign Army abroad, with F (France) and VB (Great Britain) clasps.

_______________________________________________________________

Jan HEJNA

Front Gunner

Flight Sergeant, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

RAF Service no: 787204

Was born on 7 February 1915 in the town of Jaroměř in the region of Hradec Králové. He became a policeman. He did his national service between 1933 – 1935, after which he qualified as a policeman. He also gained his private pilot licence.

He escaped from the Protectorate on 1 November 1939 via Hungary and former Yugoslavia, eventually reaching France where he presented for duty at the Czechoslovak consulate in Marseille on 25 April 1940, but he did not see any active service before the Fall of France. He continued on to England and arrived in Liverpool on 7 July 1940. He worked as an administrative clerk at the centre in Cosford at first. Though he wished above all to complete his pilot training, he willingly accepted the position of gunner. He excelled at the Gunnery School in Dumfries, coming second overall.

Flight Sergeant Jan Hejna was killed on the 23 June 1941 when his plane crashed in Nieuwe Niedorp, The Netherlands. He is commemorated at the Runnymede Memorial: Panel 36.

He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in memoriam during the rehabiliation of all Czechoslovak RAFs in 1989.

Decorations:

Czechoslovak:

Válečný kříž 1939 [War Cross 1939]

_______________________________________________________________

Karel VALACH

Rear Gunner

Flight Sergeant, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

RAF Service no: 787551

Was born in the Moravian town of Kroměříž on 28 January 1918. After his initial national service between 1936 -38 he stayed on in the Air Force. He served at Pieštany airbase in Slovakia at the time of the breakup of Czechoslovakia and the formation of the Free (Fascist) Slovak State. Together with another seven airmen, he decided to escape to Poland by plane. They successfully landed in Deblin on 7 June 1939 and joined the Polish Air Force. He saw active service in Poland before continuing to England via France. He arrived in England by ship at Liverpool on 12 July 1940.

Whilst serving with 311 squadron he met an English girl Doreen Francis Todd and they were married on 10 December 1940. Their son was born in 1941.

Flight Sergeant Karel Valach was killed on the 23 June 1941 when his plane crashed in Nieuwe Niedorp, The Netherlands. He is commemorated at the Runnymede Memorial: Panel 37.

He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in memoriam during the rehabiliation of all Czechoslovak RAFs in 1989.

Decorations:

Czechoslovak:

Válečný kříž 1939 [War Cross 1939]

Za chrabrost před nepřítelem
 [For gallantry against the enemy]

Pamětní medaile československé armády v zahraničí [Memorial Medal of Czechoslovak Foreign Army abroad], with F (France) and VB (Great Britain) clasps.

Poland:

War Cross

© Dagmar Johnson Šišková


Posted in 311 Sqd, Biography, Not Forgotton | 1 Comment

Czeching out Tangmere – part I

Češi v Tangmere – 1. část



The Tangmere Military Aviation Museum is located on the former WW2 Tangmere airfield used by 310,312 and 313 Czechoslovak squadrons as well as 1 Sqn in which several Czechoslovak pilots, including F/Lt Karel Kuttelwascher and W/O Josef Dygrýn flew night intruder sorties over northern France. In this role Karel Kuttelwascher achieved 21 combat victories during those sorties, making him the most successful Czechoslovak fighter pilot of WW2. Amongst its large and varied aviation exhibits they have an exhibition about Czechoslovak and Polish airmen who had been stationed at Tangmere as well as dedicated displays about Karel Kuttelwascher and S/Ldr Miroslav Liškutín and the Battle of Britain.

Letecké muzeum v Tangmere se nachází na bývalém druhoválečném letišti používaném 310., 312. a 313. československou perutí. Operovala odtud také 1. britská peruť, u níž sloužilo několik československých pilotů, včetně F/Lt. Karla Kuttelwaschera a W/O Josefa Dygrýna zaměřující se na noční mise nad Francií. F/Lt Kuttelwasher při nich dosáhl 21 vítězství a stal se tak nejúspěšnějším československým stíhacím pilotem druhé světové války. V rozsáhlých sbírkách muzea najdeme i výstavu zaměřenou na československé a polské letce, kteří na zdejším letišti sloužili. Své vlastní sekce zde mají F/Lt Kuttelwascher a S/Ldr. Miroslav Liškutín. Samostatná část je věnována také bitvě o Británii.

To czech out their Czechoslovak RAF exhibits, a private visit was arranged with Charles Hutcheon, Museum Curator and attending was Brigadier General Vratislav Beran the incoming Defence Attaché at the Czech Embassy London, Colonel Jiří Niedoba, outgoing Defence Attaché who is retiring at the end of June, Vee Darlington, daughter of Karel Kuttelwascher, Roger Darlington, author of Nighhawk, the definitive biography of Karel Kuttelwascher, Paul Kopeček son of F/O Vladimír Kopeček who had served at RAF Tangmere whilst a pilot with 312 Sqn.

S kurátorem muzea Charlesem Hutcheonem jsme si dohodli soukromou návštěvu části připomínající československé letce. Zúčastnili se jí brigádní generál Vratislav Beran, nastupující přidělenec obrany na velvyslanectví České republiky v Londýně plukovník Jiří Niedoba, jeho předchůdce, který opouští úřad na konci června, Vee Darlington, dcera Karla Kuttelwaschera, Roger Darlington, autor knihy Nighthawk, kompletní biografie Karla Kuttelwaschera, Paul Kopeček, syn F/O Vladimíra Kopečka, který sloužil na RAF Tangmere v době, kdy byl příslušníkem 312. perutě.

For the occasion, Vee had brought along her father’s flying log book to show some of his intruder exploits. Of particular interest was his entry for the night of 4/5 May 1942 when, whilst flying Hurrican JX-E, BE581, he shot down three Heinkel He III aircraft returning to their base at St André, after bombing raids on England. In Hurricane JX-E, Kuttelwascher achieved 17 of his combat victories with a further 5 Luftwaffe bombers damaged.

Při této příležitosti Vee také přinesla logbook jejího otce a ukázala nám některé z jeho úspěchů. Zvláště jsem se zaměřili na zápis z noci ze 4. na 5. května 1942, kdy na stroji Hurricane JX-E, BE581 sestřelil tři bombardéry He-111 ve chvíli, kdy se vracely z útoku na Anglii na svou základnu v St. André. V Hurricanu JX-E dosáhl Karel Kuttelwascher sedmnácti vítězství a poškodil dalších pět bombardérů Luftwaffe.

The visit concluded with Vee and Roger signing copies of ‘Nighthawk.’

Na závěr naší návštěvy Vee a Roger podepsali několik výtisků knihy Nighthawk.

Many thanks to Charles Hutcheon, Museum Curator and his team for making this interesting and worthwhile visit possible.

Upřímné díky Charlesi Hutcheonovi, kurátorovi muzea, a jeho týmu za to, že nám tuto zajímavou a hodnotnou návštěvu umožnili.

Tangmere Military Aviation Museum:

Address:

Gamecock Terrace, Tangmere, Chichester, West Sussex, PO20 2ES

GPS:

50°50’48.8″N 0°42’52.9″W.
50.846889, -0.714694

Map Location:

View

Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, Battle of Britain, Exhibitions, Museum, Other RAF Squadrons | Leave a comment

Tomas LÖWENSTEIN [Lom]


* 01.08.1924., Vienna, Austria.

† 23.06.2021., Prague, Czech Republic.

_______________________________________________________________

With sadness we must advise that

F/Sgt Tomáš LÖWENSTEIN [Lom] 788630

311 Sqn Wireless Operator

died

23 June 2021.

_______________________________________________________________

311.perutě radista

23.06.2021. v Praze.

zemřel

F/Sgt Tomáš LÖWENSTEIN [Lom] 788630

311.perutě radista

_______________________________________________________________

Rest in Peace

Čest jeho památce

Posted in 311 Sqd, No longer with us | 3 Comments

Nieuwe Niedorp – Excavation Completed


Nieuwe Niedorp – Výkopové práce ukončeny


Started on 25 May, the excavation of 311 (Czechoslovak) Sqn Wellington KX-T, T2990 was completed yesterday (17 June), after nearly four weeks and earlier than the original expectation of mid July.

Včera (17. června), skončily po téměř 4 týdnech a dříve než v původně předpokládaném termínu v polovině července, práce na vyzvednutí Wellingtonu KX-T T2990 311. (československé) peruti. které začaly 25. května.

During this period, the crash site was carefully excavated for all remains. Initially with a mechanical digger, skimming off small layers of soil at a time until wreckage was found – it is estimated that when the Wellington crashed it was at a speed of about 400 km/hour and thus everything on the aircraft was compressed as it was pushed from the rear of the aircraft to the front. On impact with the ground, the Wellington shattered into thousands of pieces due to the force of the crash. “The landing gear was reasonably intact. Little was left of the engines. The bomb load had already been released over Germany. We did find the four on-board weapons and associated ammunition,” said Royal Netherlands Air Force salvage officer Major Bart Aalberts

Během této doby byly opatrně vyzvednuty všechny trosky a pozůstatky. Nejprve byly s pomocí rypadla odstraněny tenké vrstvy zeminy, dokud nebyly odkryty trosky letounu – v důsledku odhadované rychlosti wellingtonu v momentu nárazu na 400 km/hod se očekávalo, že komprese všechno na palubě letadla posunula ze zadní části dopředu. Vzhledem k síle nárazu se wellington roztříštil na tisíce fragmentů. “Podvozek je pouze částečně poškozen. Velmi málo zůstalo z motorů. Bomby byly shozeny nad Německem. Našli jsme 4 palubní zbraně a příslušnou munici”, řekl major Bart Aalberts, důstojník Nizozemského královského letectva, zodpovědný za záchranné práce.

Numerous aircraft items were found, amongst them pieces of engines, propellers, oxygen cylinders, 0.303″ bullets and rubber dinghy remains. These will now go to the Royal Netherlands Air Force base at Woensdrecht for detailed examination there.

Byla nalezena řada fragmentů vybavení letadla jako části motorů, vrtulí, kyslíkové lahve, 0.303” náboje, gumový záchranný člun (dinghy) a zbytky padáků, které budou přemístěny na základnu Nizozemského královského letectva ve Woensdrechtu k detailnímu přezkoumání.

Human remains were also found and will now be taken to the Royal Netherlands Army Salvage and Identification Service (BIDKL) specialist laboratory at Soesterberg, Holland, for detailed examination and identification using the airmen’s Czechoslovak medical records. Once this examination has been completed a formal announcement will be made by the Dutch, British and Czech authorities regarding the identities of those remains and internment plans so that these young airmen finally have a grave and closure for their relatives.

Nalezené tělesné pozůstatky budou převezeny do specializované laboratoře Záchrqnné a identifikační služby (BIDKL) Nizozemské královské armády v Soesterbergu k detailnímu přezkoumání a identifikaci, ke které bude použito československých lékařských záznamů letců. Po jejím ukončení bude vydáno společné oficielní prohlášení holandských, britských a českých úřadů o identifikaci těchto ostatků a plánu na jejich uložení, aby se tito mladí letci konečně dočkali svého hrobu a jejich příbuzní závěru.

Live ammunition found at the site will be destroyed by the Dutch EODD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service) team also at Soesterberg.

Ostrou munici, která byla v místě nalezena, zneškodní holandská Jednotka likvidace výbušného arsenálu (EODD), rovněž v Soesterbergu.

A video, in Dutch, of the excavation courtesy of Ministry of Defense, Netherlands:

Video o výkopových pracích v holandském jazyce (s laskavým svolením nizozemského Ministerstva obrany):



Posted in 311 Sqd, Information, Not Forgotton | 2 Comments